Lots of health experts today talk about “mindful” eating. What’s interesting about that term is that the “brain” IS actually eating – and craving – food.
The Harvard Health Blog Says:
• “Research suggests that leptin amplifies the CCK signals, to enhance the feeling of fullness. Other research suggests that leptin also interacts with the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain to produce a feeling of pleasure after eating. The theory is that, by eating too quickly, people may not give this intricate
hormonal cross- talk system enough time to work.“
When that hormonal cross-talk system doesn’t work, and the brain doesn’t experience pleasure from eating, the brain says “EAT MORE!” Lots of times our lives are so busy that eating just seems like another thing we have to do – for some of us, we ignore food or are annoyed by it and often we’re just not paying attention to a meal.
We’ve bolted down something before we even know we did, and then we’re off to the next task. But the brain, as you now know, isn’t satisfied by that experience. It wants to INDULGE in the full sensual pleasure of eating.
Interestingly enough, your digestive system (and metabolism) works most efficiently when you DO allow
yourself the entire process and sensual pleasure of eating. Why is this true? Let’s look deeper into this phenomenon, and how it can completely change how we look at lifestyle challenges like overeating and binge eating. Let’s look at something called the “Cephalic Phase Digestive Response” or CPDR.
Cephalic Phase Digestive Response (CPDR):
• “Cephalic” means “of the head.”
• Describes the taste, aroma, visual stimulation and environment of a meal, before you’ve opened your mouth to take the first bite.
• Researchers have estimated that as much as 30-40% of the total digestive response of a meal is in response to CPDR, our total AWARENESS of and PRESENCE in the eating experience.
That’s pretty amazing! And you can probably think of examples when this has been true for you. If your favorite meal is the traditional Thanksgiving, then you can likely recall the smell of stuffing and mashed potatoes cooking in the kitchen – maybe your mouth started watering or your stomach started churning.
That’s your body preparing to digest this meal – preparing saliva, digestive enzymes, sending blood to digestive organs – so that by the time you take the first bite your body is READY.
The takeaway is this…
If we’re not present and aware of the eating experience – if you eat a bag of chips, get to the bottom, and wonder how you got there – then you’re missing 30-40% of your digestive power, decreasing nutrient absorption and slowing down your metabolism.
Plus (and here’s the kicker) the brain, because of CPDR, still wants to eat! It craves the full sensual experience of eating. Plus, CPDR NEEDS to experience the fullness of a meal so it can accurately assess the meal and catalyze the most effective digestive force.
If we aren’t engaging the CPDR, the brain registers HUNGER, saying “Wait! I didn’t eat! Eat more!” ….even if you’ve had an entire pizza. This puts a whole new frame on binge eating and overeating
and causes us to ask…….is it a problem of binging and overeating, or is it a problem of PRESENCE and AWARENESS?
If you suspect you have an over-eating problem, we want to suggest that actually might have an under-awareness problem, which is easily solved. The more AWARENESS and PRESENCE you bring to
each meal, the less you’ll need to eat. The less AWARENESS and PRESENCE you bring to each meal, the more you’ll need to eat.
This is one of the many reasons why, these secret 7 tools for HOW to eat, can improve health without changing ANYTHING you eat. Keep in mind that isn’t what I want from my clients every day! I want them to make healthy choices BUT to put in context, just imagine the results if you ate healthy and were mindful at the same time! I teach my clients to enjoy meals no matter what their choices are. If you go out with friends and want a burger and fries, go for it! As long as you are aware, don’t think its your last chance to ever have a burger again and that they DO NOT judge themselves for it. This allows them to enjoy a meal and not have the need to keep eating or to make poor choices after. Here are some tips for increasing the sensual experience of eating a meal:
Tips For Sensual Eating:
- Sight: Savor the colors of your food, the beauty of what’s come from the Earth, the rain and the sun.
- Smell: Bring the food up to your nose as if you’ve never smelled it before and inhale.
- Touch: What’s the texture of your food? Of your utensils? Of the napkin on your lap?
- Environment: This involves sight, smell and touch – what environment are you creating for yourself when you eat? Candles? Favorite china or tablecloth? Drinking out of a crystal goblet instead of water glass? **When you eat a meal, you’re eating your environment as well (which is why eating while driving or on the run can feel so stressful). **Turn off email and computers and phones while eating – make your meal a special time just for you.
- Texture: Chew your food about 30 chews – notice the texture of the food, let yourself breathe while chewing.
- Pamper Yourself: You might think “But it’s just me – why would I go to all this trouble of having a beautiful meal?” Excellent question! We ask in return “Who better to treat so luxuriously and lovingly than yourself?”
The above should go into every meal! Create meals with color and different textures. Use sweet and salty together. Or sweet with heat! The visual component and textures in your mouth create pleasure and nourish your senses which creates better digestion and your brain won’t feel the need for anything else!
I try and use a lot of colors and textures in my meals. I get excited for a meal when I see different colors and I enjoy different textures together. For example in my Watermelon Daikon salad. There is crispy, creamy and crunchy. The flavors are sweet, with a bite and a bit of neutral. This gives your body and mind what it needs to feel nourished from the get go! Now use your senses! Your sight, your touch, and your smell! Start the digestion process off on the right track. If you eat something that you don’t normally eat, you will find that by using your senses, slowing down and breathing, it will change your life! You won’t need to finish the whole meal (leaves some to enjoy the next day), you won’t crave anything after and most of all you won’t feel guilty!
Now…. the good part! I have a free gift for you! Click here to get my Watermelon Daikon Salad recipe! This is by far one of my favorite meals! You can add chicken or salmon. You can go dairy free by taking out the goat cheese (but I have to say that texture adds to the experience!). This is a great dinner choice!